The Orange County Board of Supervisors rescinded a series of controversial discretionary raises for the county’s top executives Tuesday, refusing CEO Tom Mauk’s request for more time to study the issue.
“Do-nothing isn’t getting anything done for us,” said Supervisor Shawn Nelson.
He and Supervisor Pat Bates spent months studying how the county should react to a scathing report submitted in May by the county performance auditor that alleged a series of executive raises were granted without justification.
Mauk had spent months successfully arguing to supervisors that he needed more time to study the issue. But on Tuesday, when Mauk again asked for more time, both Nelson and Bates pounced.
“It’s time to close this chapter,” said Nelson.
Said Bates: “What is missing, Tom, is we were supposed to have a meeting where you would meet with us to share the direction you were taking, and we haven’t had that meeting.”
Nelson then moved that a series of raises doled out to nearly every top executive in the CEO’s office be rescinded.
The action means demotion and loss of a 33 percent pay hike for Assistant CEO Rob Richardson. Alisa Drakodaidis, deputy CEO for infrastructure, loses a 13 percent pay raise. It also means a downgrading of titles for Public Finance Director Colleen Clark and Budget Director Frank Kim.
Chairman Bill Campbell had spent months protecting Mauk against the critical audit and sought again to delay on Tuesday.
“I just fundamentally disagree with some of the committee’s recommendations,” Campbell said. “I am frustrated that it’s not resolved.”
On Tuesday, Nelson’s motion and a 3-2 vote implemented the recommendations. Campbell and Supervisor Janet Nguyen cast no votes.
Mauk is expected to return to supervisors Jan. 10 with options for restoring raises and promotions.
— NORBERTO SANTANA JR.